President Trump confirmed Monday that the US Navy’s hospital ship docked in Manhattan, the USNS Comfort, will treat coronavirus cases — granting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s request and ending hours of confusion about the ship’s status.
“He [Cuomo] called me up a little while ago and asked if it would be possible to use the ship with respect to fighting the virus,” Trump told reporters at The White House. “We hadn’t had that in mind at all but we’re going to let him do it.
“New Jersey is going to use it as well because New Jersey is also a hot spot,” he added. “It’s a big ship and it’s now COVID, it’s set for COVID and we are going to, hopefully, that will be very helpful to both states.”
Trump’s announcement came just minutes after Cuomo announced the news in an appearance on MSNBC, telling the network that the “president spoke to the Department of Defense and granted that request” to have the massive vessel assist with coronavirus cases.
“The president spoke with the Department of Defense and granted that request to use the Navy ship Comfort for COVID patients, so that’s an additional 1000 beds with federal personnel managing that ship. So that is a welcome relief,” Cuomo said during the appearance. “The president granted the request, he did it quickly.”
He added: “I spoke with him this morning, and then he called back this afternoon and he said that was done”
Trump’s decision came shortly after a statement from the Pentagon said the Defense Department had no intention of changing its policy about bringing coronavirus patients onboard.
“Comfort will continue to accept trauma, emergency & urgent care patients, irrespective of their COVID status,” the Defense Department’s top spokesman, Jonathan Rath Hoffman, said in a statement provided to CNN. “Our current preference, which could change at any time… is to see Javits Center beds used by COVID patients, before moving them to the Comfort.”
The 1,000-bed Comfort docked off of Manhattan’s West Side last week, with the expectation that it would relieve pressure on city hospitals overrun with coronavirus patients by taking on cases unrelated to the contagion.
But with so few non-coronavirus patients in need of care in the shut-down city, Cuomo on Monday said that he would ask President Trump to call an audible.
Trump had voiced openness to the idea, but the Pentagon was resistant, preferring to restrict the Comfort to other cases, while the federal field hospital in the Javits Center tended to coronavirus patients.
Source: Read Full Article